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Old 01-01-2012, 06:56   #31
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Re: SSB advice

NorthPacific - Bill installed my SSB antenna about a month ago (while I was in cold Annapolis and not in the warm Caribbean as I am now) and used the methods he's been describing. The grounding was easy to install, just ran that thick garden-hose like cable and Bob's-yer-Uncle it was finished; the antenna is a halyard-type system as well and installed quickly once we found a appropriate line.

So far it has worked quite well.
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Old 01-01-2012, 07:58   #32
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Re: SSB advice

Lots of good info in this thread. I'll add my two cents.

When I installed my HF/SSB rig on my 28 sloop, I was in the same situation: no HF/SSB installation or operation experience at all. But, at the time I need to pick some sort of setup to start with.

I chose:
  • 100 watt Icom 706/AH-4 radio/tuner
  • Insulated backstay
  • Dynaplate grounding plate.

Everything worked like a charm. I could hear and check in to HF nets in Alaska and parts of the So. Pacific using no more than 20 watts (I am in the PNW). I have never fiddled with the antenna setup AT ALL. Still works great after 10 years. I added a Pactor modem for digital modes and had no problems with it (had to fuss a little on computer connectivity, but...).

So, re the other advice here, you may not need to go with a ground plate. You will never know if it improves (or degrades) performance unless you have the time and energy to experiment (a ham tradition of course!). My situation did not afford me that luxury.

So, pick a setup and go with it. If you want to push the envelope on performance, you will need to experiment.

My opinions on alternate setups:
  • using the boats thru-hulls and bonding system as a counterpoise, while I can understand it working well, and seems it has for lots of boaters, sorta makes be feel uneasy. Not sure why. If you are worried about lightning strikes??
  • If you have large metal tanks for fuel and water, bonding them together for use as a counterpoise sounds really interesting. I will be trying this the 42 footer I am building. Hope it works well.

Lastly, with all this talk about antenna setups, don't forget the noise on power supply side can affect radio performance. One mod I did was to run a dedicated power supply line directly from the battery (switched from the DC panel using relays). This reduced radio noise quite a bit. If I turn off all the other boat systems (especially refrigeration) radio performance is even better.
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:16   #33
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Re: SSB advice

Oh wait, I know a neat trick to test your KISS. Get a bunch of old cable or wire and connect it to the ground lug of your tuner IN ADDITION TO THE KISS.

Now, make arrangements with somebody with a HAM radio at a distance where quality of signal can be compared. You need to find somebody who can read you but not super clear. Now transmit with him, then dump the bunch of wire overboard (still connected to the tuner of course) and transmit again. If this significantly improves the signal, you can optimize with a coupling to seawater. If this doesn't make a real difference then the KISS is as good as it will get.

cheers,
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:21   #34
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Re: SSB advice

Great information guys.

So as it stands the system will be:

Icom 710

Icom at130 tuner

Kiss

then

23ft whip

Use best coaxial cable I can find between radio and tuner.

High grade wire as specified between tuner and whip.

If this does not work I will be back begging for help:-)

Many thanks again for all the support.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:51   #35
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The wire between antenna and tuner: often used is high voltage GTO wire. I use AWG8 instead. The most important thing is to weatherproof it. Use heat-shrink with glue inside and put protection against UV around the cable.

cheers,
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:10   #36
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Re: SSB advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthPacific View Post
Great information guys.

So as it stands the system will be:

Icom 710

Icom at130 tuner

Kiss

then

23ft whip

Use best coaxial cable I can find between radio and tuner.

High grade wire as specified between tuner and whip.

If this does not work I will be back begging for help:-)

Many thanks again for all the support.
oh, and not sure if this was said before...

Mount the tuner as close to the feed point of the antenna as possible. Technically, the antenna "starts" at the antenna terminal on the tuner.
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Old 02-01-2012, 19:17   #37
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Re: SSB advice

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Originally Posted by westsail42 View Post
oh, and not sure if this was said before...

Mount the tuner as close to the feed point of the antenna as possible. Technically, the antenna "starts" at the antenna terminal on the tuner.
So this is the 1ft-3ft advice? So having it on top of the radar Arch is not a good idea?

can I secure it to the stern radar pole? Its aluminum.
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Old 02-01-2012, 20:12   #38
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Re: SSB advice

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Originally Posted by NorthPacific View Post
So this is the 1ft-3ft advice? So having it on top of the radar Arch is not a good idea?

can I secure it to the stern radar pole? Its aluminum.
The radar arch is fine - just mount the tuner up there also. They are waterproof, and the arch makes a great counterpoise for it. If you worry about the tuner in the elements, stick a piece of tupperware or fiberglass box over it.

That's the way ours is mounted (antenna and tuner on right, another tuner on left with long wire antenna coiled below it).

Mark
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Old 02-01-2012, 20:33   #39
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Re: SSB advice

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Originally Posted by NorthPacific View Post
So this is the 1ft-3ft advice? So having it on top of the radar Arch is not a good idea?

can I secure it to the stern radar pole? Its aluminum.
The problem is that you also want to have the R.F. ground connection be as short as practical. If anything, this is more important than having a short antenna lead-in length.

There's nothing wrong with having a longer antenna lead-in (the GTO-15 wire), as long as it's kept several inches away from any surrounding metal. It can, for example, cross a toe-rail, a stanchion, or a shroud, at a right-angle with little effect, it's the long parallel runs you need to avoid. Many people use plastic stand-offs to keep the wire away from the grounded portion of the backstay, for example.

As I recall, you are considering a whip antenna (mounted on the radar pole?) You might consider putting the tuner belowdeck in a stern locker, then running the feedline through a deck gland and then through a length of PVC pipe for stand-off and safety purposes. Here's a photo of my boat where I did this (that's me in the photo).

Note the short PVC standoffs. You don't need the vertical pipe, I used it to keep the wire from getting snagged and grabbed. I have a backstay adjuster, so the feed wire needs some slack in it. It does look kind of clunky though...

[edit: Yes, if you can make the arch work as your ground then this might be a good place for the tuner. It needs to be a good ground though, or you will have a "hot" coax ground connection, which is another issue to deal with.]
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:25   #40
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The 1-3' of wire rule is for the part inside the boat.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:48   #41
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Re: SSB advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
The KISS-SSB Radial Ground System consists of a 10' length of hose (not 20') with a 4' length of AWG10 yellow wire extending from one end. You connect this wire to the ground lug on the tuner.

Re: backstay insulators, no backstay is "too thick". Insulators come in any size you want. Best is the Hadyn fail-safe insulator, and I've installed them on up to 1/2" stainless rigging.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!

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Wow, the KISS counterpoise sounds like the way to go.

As to my backstay -- it is considerably thicker than 1/2". I believe it is 18mm stainless. It is possible to have insulators specially made, but they cost a fortune, plus, like many others, I am really not comfortable with the risk of structural failure.

I would like to do an insulated cap shroud -- there is so much redundancy to the shrouds that I would not worry about the structural issues. And the wire size is amenable to standard insulators. And also the end of the cap shrouds is much closer to the nav table than the end of the backstay. But I'm afraid that the contact between the cap shrouds and three spreaders -- metal to metal -- would nix that -- correct?
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:58   #42
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@DockHead: wow you got a serious backstay. I would not use the capshroud either, it is the one that takes all heeling forces.

Also, as strange as it might sound, it's better to get the antenna a bit away from the radio. Your situation I would put a vertical whip on the transom with a tuner in the lazaret. Run a RG-8U or RG-213 from the tuner to the nav station. Or, bring the radio closer to the tuner by using a model with blackbox and remote control unit, like 710-RT or the 802 or a HAM like he Kenwood TS-480.

cheers,
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:10   #43
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Before you spend money on a KISS, read the threads about it here, then decide. If $140 is no big deal, then dont worry about it.
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:33   #44
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Re: SSB Advice

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Before you spend money on a KISS, read the threads about it here, then decide. If $140 is no big deal, then dont worry about it.
As with all things, you need to look at the price difference, so what would it cost you to make a clone of the KISS??

10' hose @ $1 = $10
600' marine wire #16 @ $0.20 = $120
lead wire, terminals, endcap $10

total $140.-

huh?! it costs as much making it myself!

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Old 03-01-2012, 07:15   #45
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There is no 600 ft of wire in the KISS. Just read some of the other threads before you drink the Kool-Aid - if it matters to you. I would argue you could duplicate its functionality with a single 14 ft piece of 10 gauge wire, but no point hashing over all the arguments in this thread too.
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